BCX Partners Huawei and MPI for Nungu Mine 5G Project

BCX Partners Huawei and MPI for Nungu Mine 5G Project

A few nations have since joined South Africa in launching 5G network provision. Speedtest Intelligence data analysis reveals that during Q1 2022, mobile speeds differed greatly throughout African nations with South Africa having a better speed. Vodacom and MTN introduced 5G services before the 5G spectrum auction, which was finished in March 2022, using emergency temporary spectrum allotted during the COVID-19 epidemic.

In collaboration with Nokia, Vodacom rolled out the first 5G network in Africa in May 2020 using the 3.5 GHz frequency. At the time of its launch, the network had 190 5G sites spread across three cities: Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town. MTN followed in June 2020, using spectrum across 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, and 3500 MHz bands. Rain, Cell C and Telkom have joined in, and now BCX has revealed its intention to join the South African 5G market.

To provide Nungu Mine in Witbank with solutions based on next-generation technology, BCX will collaborate with Huawei and MPI Mining Solutions to launch the new 5G service. The project will make it possible for Nungu Mine to have wireless connectivity, data analytics, automation, integrated networking with handheld devices, a facial recognition proximity detection system, and video monitoring via drone technology.

The BCX and its partners’ action comes as more telco companies make a bold bid in SA’s rapidly expanding 5G industry.

According to BCX Wireless Solutions managing executive Neo Phukubje, the use of 5G-enabled technologies is expected to significantly improve the mine’s operational effectiveness and safety. He added that the new service will be a game changer for the entire business and the hundreds of thousands of people it employs.

“As proven with this launch, wireless technology can be harnessed in powerful ways that make a lasting difference. It builds on our confidence and excitement to work in partnership with all industries − from finance, aviation and agriculture, to healthcare − so they too can benefit from becoming 5G-enabled, fully-integrated and connected to a new world of infinite possibilities.”

The Nungu Mine will consist of two phases: aboveground and underground. At key locations within the mine, BCX installed 5G-enabled cameras will provide proximity detection, which is made possible by IOT sensors and digital processing technologies. It will also enable stockpiling monitoring system, which is made possible by video obtained by drones and processed by a computing system.

Additionally, it enables collision avoidance to reduce the frequency of incidents and crashes, in-car connectivity to monitor driver fatigue, and a pedestrian protection system to facilitate the safety and monitoring of miners on the job site.

According to BCX, phase two of the project will involve extending connectivity underground to create a fully linked smart mine that will boost security and provide motion sensors that set off an alarm, enabling the mine’s control center to effectively monitor underground activity.

In addition to increased operational effectiveness and safety, Frenndy Wang, channel department director of Huawei South Africa’s Enterprise Division notes that the 5G service will allow for AI-based real-time data analytics—a key to smart mining.

“Data is a valuable asset for miners, enabling ’data-driven decision-making’ in the critical mining environment. 5G connectivity will make the South African mining sector globally competitive,” said Wang.